Srinagar, Dec 24: Jammu and Kashmir is set to witness a coalition government with none of the four main parties managing to get a majority in the just concluded assembly election in the state.
While the People's Democratic Party won 28 seats, the BJP won 25 seats and the National Conference and Congress won 15 and 12 seats, respectively. The remaining seven seats were won by other parties like the CPI(M), People's Conference and People's Democratic Front (Secular). Three seats were won by Independents.
What could be the probable scenario of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir?
A PDP-BJP alliance: This looks the easiest way out in order to achieve a stable government in the sensitive state but will it the most viable option?
Some observers feel that the two parties are so different in their outlooks that expecting them to lead a government for six years is a sort of daydreaming.
Ideological incompatibility apart, the two parties' coming together in the government would mean an insult for their respective voters and the alliance could see the BJP losing its support in Jammu and the PDP in Srinagar region.
The BJP's acerbic attack on the dynastic politics of the two regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir before the polls could also prove to be counter-productive if the saffron party joins hands with the PDP now.
PDP patron Mohammed Sayeed Mufti, however, has the experience of working with the BJP in the late 1980s when the VP Singh government of which he was a minister was supported by both the BJP and the Left.
PDP-Congress-Independents: The Congress has offered unconditional support to the PDP to keep itself relevant in the state but the PDP will not be very eager to ruin its electoral fortune by tying up with a party which has been pushed to the periphery.
Party leader Vikramaditya Singh clearly said that the Congress and NCP were asked by the people to sit in the opposition. Moreover, allying with the Congress will not give the PDP the magic figure of 44 and it will need more engineering to forge an alliance for a just-about-it government. The PDP would also avoid finding a natural adversary in the BJP-led government at the Centre by allying with the Congress.
BJP-NC: Both the BJP and NC will be eager to explore this option but it will be interesting to see who blinks first. The NC is showing its eagerness to ally with anybody (even the PDP) which is actually a way to create pressure on the BJP which wants to have its own chief minister in case there is an alliance with the NC.
Outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah has the experience of working with the BJP during the times of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his supporting the BJP's move to confer Vajpayee the Bharat Ratna, many believe, is a calculated step towards befriending BJP.
But in both cases, the BJP will have to address the contentious issue of Article 370 before seeking any alliance with either the PDP or the NC.
Minority PDP government: The BJP could play the role of the king-maker in case it decides to support a minority PDP government from outside. But then again, this could be a perfect recipe for disaster, something like a PDP-NC government.